(Interview) Malaika Opens up on 90 million naira mansion at Ajah @tj_shetade

mala 1

You have a song with Olamide; are you planning to delve into hip-hop music like some of your colleagues?

No, I don’t have such plans. I am a fuji artiste. I decided to collaborate with some hip-hop artistes to show my fans that I can also do hip-hop if I want to. I believe a musician should be able to sing all genres of music and that is what influenced my decision to collaborate with some hip-hop artistes.

Would you still remember why you decided to become a singer?

Growing up, I never knew I was going to become a musician even though my father and grandfather were musicians. I just found myself doing music during my primary school days. I started singing when I was in primary three to be precise. That was in 1983. I was about ten years old then.

Why the preference for fuji?

I started music during the Ramadan period and it was known as Were Ajisari. In other words, We were using Islamic music and chants to wake people up to have their breakfast during Ramadan season. Anybody that started his music in that way would definitely sing fuji because they are interwoven. Fuji music originated from Were Ajisari. From then on, I started leading singers in my Arabic school. That was how my cleric discovered my talent and told me that I could make music a career if I put my mind to it.

So it was your cleric that discovered your talent?

Yes. He heard me sing and gave me words of encouragement. He said that I could do it and become someone in life and I thank God I listened to him. I still keep in touch with him and he is a very big Islamic cleric now.

But did your parents support such decision?

My mother kicked against it. She did not want me to do music. She was strongly against it and my grandmother had to ask her why she was so against it. She said that my grandfather and my father were musicians but they did not have anything to show for it. She said that for that reason, she wouldn’t allow her son to do the same thing. It was my grandmother that appealed on my behalf before she agreed. However, she insisted that I must finish my education before I delve into music.

Your father and grandfather, delved into music and had nothing to show for it how come your case is different?

Nothing. I did not do anything differently. I sing the same way they sang and I am glad it worked out well for me. I believe it is God’s wish for me to be successful. All fingers are not equal. I am thanking God for my life. When my father was doing music, he derived joy from it. He was able to get some money to feed his family but I think my mother felt that he could have got a better job and provide more for the family. Today I thank God because I know what I have achieved through music.

Has there ever been a time in your career you felt like giving up?

Yes, such times have occurred. Those were the trying periods and it made me realise that it is not easy to become a man. There is nothing easy in this life. If someone had sat me down before I ventured into music and told me all that I would go through before I become a household name in the industry, I would not have gone into music at all. There was a time I went for a show suddenly and there was chaos everywhere. My equipment which cost about N5m was destroyed. That was when I came back from the US in 1999. I used everything I made in the US to buy the equipment. I had not used them for more than two months before they were destroyed. They set it ablaze. There were times I would go for a show and return with injuries caused by some trouble seeking fans. As a person, I hate violence but the type of music we do is not for gentlemen. Since my mother had told me that music is not easy and had warned me against quitting and running back to her, I had to persevere and be strong. There were times I went for shows and got back home without any money. There was a period in my life when I had only two clothes and one pair of shoes. I would borrow money to rent musical instruments and I would also beg to perform for free. Those were the days I felt like quitting.

Is it true that you recently built a mansion worth N90m?

If I built a mansion that is worth more than that, I don’t think it should surprise anybody because I have been in the industry for a long while now. I know that it is not how far but how well. I have been in the music industry working seriously. I save a lot and that is why I could build my mansion. There is no lie about it, I built a mansion, not just a house, and it cost me N90m.

What is your relationship with Fathia Balogun and Sikiratu Sindodo?

They are my very good friends. Not just them alone, I have a lot of friends in the movie industry.

People believe that you have a preference for dating actresses…

If I date an actress compared to an ordinary person who is not in the spotlight, people would quickly catch wind of it because an actress is always in the public eye especially the popular ones. They say I like dating actresses but how many can they link with me. The only person they can mention is Tayo Odueke popularly known as Sikiratu Sindodo, so why would people exaggerate things as if I always date actresses. In the fuji industry, I can authoritatively say that I am the only person that isn’t into dating actresses. You just can’t link me with any other person except Sikiratu Sindodo. I am with her not because she is an actress; I knew her before she became famous.

During an interview with Sikiratu Sindodo, she explained that you stood by her when she was critically ill years ago at a time everybody abandoned her. Why were you so nice to her?

I stood by her because I knew that she deserved something better. She is a very good woman. Some people believe actresses are promiscuous but I don’t believe that. Someone like Tayo is a devout Muslim who prays five times a day and she fasts during fasting periods. If I did more than I did, it would not be too much for her. She needed me at that time and I had to be by her side because she deserves only the best.

Malaika

Are you guys still together?

Yes, we are still together.

How have you been able to balance your work schedule with being a family man?

I go for shows but I make sure that it does not affect the time I spend with my family. When it is time to work, I go to work and when it is time to stay with the family, I am with them one hundred percent.

Do you drink or smoke?

I don’t indulge in such vices. I have never taken alcohol in my life. I have never smoked any substance in my life. When I was younger, about 90 per cent of my friends either drank alcohol or smoked or indulged in both. But I was never pressured to join them. Even where I grew up on Lagos Island, they sold Indian hemp and people smoked around our area but I never indulged in it. I was able to stay away from the temptation because of God. He gave me the strength to shun those vices. Besides, if I make up my mind not to partake in anything, I usual stick to my resolution.

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